August 28, 2014

Exciting news!!

We have two new ewes on the farm! They are icelandic sheep!

Their names are Magpie and Sweetgrass! 
They are older sheep, retired from breeding but were looking for a loving home. 

We fixed them up a lovely stall of their very own in the barn (:

I kept them in for three days and spoiled them with treats and affection. I wanted them to understand that this is their new home, and that it is a happy, safe place. Here the chickens are saying hello under the door.

And then, on the 4th day, I let them out with the other sheep. Here, Sweetgrass is enjoying the sun on her face (: They explored the property in little bits, and if they were startled by something, ran back to me. I was very happy that they acknowledged me as their shepherdess (: By the end of the day, they were travelling around the pasture with the other sheep, looking like they had always lived here (:

We all love the morning pasture sunlight.

I knew Sweetgrass's wool reminded me of something! 

These ewes came to us from a lovely Ontario icelandic farm and I am so looking forward to working with their wool next year! I am NOT, however, looking forward to getting all those burrs out. Sheep and burrs definitely don't mix! I cut down as many burdock plants as I could find in the pasture, but there are so many in other places that frankly, I give up. Next year I will coat the sheep. This year, I am letting go (:

I'll just love them! That's what sheep are for around here!

August 22, 2014

a walk in the August forest

St.John's Wort, harvested from the wild and ready to be made into tincture


Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus)

Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Wild Oregano

And when we got home, pizza!

As the days turn a bit cooler, we are finally able to explore our beautiful woods. The mosquitos and deer flies, for the most part, leave us alone and we can wander slowly if we like, stopping to examine the myriad of forest creatures and natural wonders along the way. There is the most wonderful 'mossy place' which we love to visit, as the moss is soft underfoot like a squishy carpet, and everything is bright green and so lush! I have always loved moss, and mushrooms too, and I photograph these things perhaps more than anythings else wherever I go.
We found wildflowers on our walk; toadflax, viper's bugloss, heal-all, St.John's wort, bee balm and wild bergamot and we harvested a bit of the S.John's wort to be made into tincture. We will transplant some of the toadflax and heal-all to our shady garden spot as well; How nice it will be to have these growing closer to us!
We were likely exploring in the woods for 2 1/2 hours which is a good amount of time for the littlest travellers! We stopped frequently so they could sip a bit of their orange juice which Ollie gallantly carried the entire time in his backpack, and when we returned home, we made some delicious (gluten-free) pizza!

August 15, 2014

taken by jude

Jude (five years) taken pictures of all of us when we are not expecting it.
They are always very interesting; the composition and vantage point for sure, but also the fact that he captures people when they are thinking deeply, engrossed in some daily task or engaging with one another..In the photo above, I was watching Ollie far across the meadow, trying to decipher through the long grass and waist-high wildflowers if he was using his little pair of scissors safely.

August 13, 2014

In August, our hearts are happy!

The boys and I walk often in the pasture to collect wildflowers

On this particular day, I made TWO peach-rhubarb crumbles. They were good.

Stick bug!

Collaborative painting on wood with colored ink

My handsome Woolly Pippin, all grown up (:

Watching red ants relocate their precious eggs, brought to the light by lifting a rock.

Danish flag poppy. Jason grew these from seed this year.

A white poppy; I can't recall the name at the moment.

 Standard summer fare (:

Sushi rolls made with our delicious cucumbers!

 A beautiful evening visitor to our kitchen window

 Cooking gluten-free pancakes and potatoes for Spanish omelettes

Cute lil' tree frog

Jude is a friend to all winged creatures

For some reason, even though it is only the middle of August, the weather here has turned cool and feels like autumn. We are in need of sweaters when venturing outdoors! How very strange. I recall a November a few years back when it was warm enough for a t-shirt. Global warming at its finest, folks. I just hope the warmer temperatures return long enough for our (very large) tomato harvest to take place. We have only green tomatoes at this point. There are also some melons and squash that are not quite finished growing and it would be heartbreaking for Jason especially to lose out on a good harvest after all the work he has put in.
This year we have decided to have delivered a trucks' worth of logs for our firewood which Jason can cut and split right here in the yard. For the past couple years, he has gone into the bush and cut all the dead wood he could find, sometimes using a small wagon to pull the pieces back to the house, and sometimes our neighbours' truck (which he has since sold). Now the nearby firewood prospects are all used up and he would have to go farther into the forest to find wood, and the forest here is not people-friendly; It is dense and overgrown, with gnarly growth underfoot and completely infested with poison ivy. I am relieved, for Jason's sake, that he doesn't have to spend weeks out there slugging away in the worst of conditions (no truck, no 4-wheeler, no help) to haul that wood back to the house. It will be such a treat to have all the wood close to the house to work on!
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